Friday, September 25, 2009

The Joy Diet - Chapter 1

Today will be a little bit of a different post. I decided to participate in the exploration of the book The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, hosted by Jamie Ridler on her blog The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet. We explore one chapter a week and then on Fridays blog about our experience. The book's title really spoke to me as I try very consciously to life a joyful life and to spread some of that joy to others.
This weeks topic was "Nothing," discussing the importance of doing nothing for at least 15 minutes a day. The idea is that when we quiet that chatter in our mind for just a little bit, we might be able to finally hear our souls speak to us. 15 minutes a day sounds easy, right? As someone who used to meditate frequently and still does so at times, I thought: "Piece of cake!" I couldn't have been more wrong.
I sometimes have phases where I can't seem to find my place and this week was one of those weeks. I couldn't settle down, felt restless and pulled in a million different directions. And that feeling got me even more agitated, being totally counter productive.
But then I noticed something important ... when I pick up the paint brush and paint, I enter that space of silence. For that hour or two or three, my ego takes a break and I enter into a space that is silent, colorful, intuitive, inspiring and incredibly energizing.
I dip into my center where everything is calm and inspiration while a painting is taking shape on the outside. I've said this many times since I started painting, but it is a most mysterious process that I cannot (and don't want to) analyze with my rational mind.
Some people feel that stillness when they sit and enter into silence, others feel it when in nature, when running, petting their cat, looking at a perfect flower, working in their garden, seeing a sunset, or entering into the creative spirit! To me the ways to connect with that deeper part of us are endless, what 's important is that we each find the way that works for us!

How do you get into the space where all is still, where inspiration speaks to you?
(All photos were taken at the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia where Daniel and I canoed with the alligators in March of 2008)

23 comments:

  1. What a good subject "nothing" I don't think I can sit for 15 minutes and let my mind be quiet. Right now I'm in a space that even my art work does not help. I must explore this. Thank you for the photos, I loved the one of the dragonfly. Have a good week-end. Lorrie

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  2. You remind me of Martha Beck saying we could do a mindless, repetitive task as part of our 15 minutes. I don't associate painting with "mindless" or "repetitive" but there is a sense of soothing when doing something you love. If you lose yourself in your work and achieve that state of "stillness" and "peace" I think you have found a brilliant way to attend to yourself.

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  3. i love your take on nothing! it's funny how nothing can be so powerful! :)

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  4. Those are some pretty awesome pictures Silke, I think canoeing in a swamp with the alligators would definitely help a person to remain focused.:) I bet that was fun.

    Trust me, you do spread joy to others as it practically emanates from you. That is what I like the most about your blog.

    Me, I am most at peace with everything while out in nature, mostly while hiking. We will be heading out on our own canoe trip into an Idaho bog in a few weeks to pick cranberries. If we don't run into any hunters that will be a joyful "nothing" day for us.

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  5. Loved the theme. I think nothingness conveys 'somethingness' whatever that is. It's up to yo oto judge the result. But the process is everything. Many thanks for such a beautiful post.

    Greetings from London.

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  6. gorgeous shots - being still and listening is one of the hardest things to do.

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  7. First I must address "canoeing in a swamp with the alligators". WHAT?!?!?!? Scary!!! Please use a flat bottom boat next time, something not as tippy!!!

    I can do nothing all day long...seriously. Pulling weeds is the best therapy...mindlessness. Or walking and just being outdoors. As soon as there is no roof over my head, my thoughts just fly away...

    This is going to be a lovely journey with a lovely lady. **kisskiss** Deb

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  8. loved your post today...I too can slip into a mindless state when creating!

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  9. I think you found a beautiful way of embracing doing nothing. For me visualizing seemed to work, but not everyday. It's truly nice to meet you.

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  10. Silke,
    As I move around blogland I am happy to see so many soulful women discovering this book. Your noticings about doing nothing are profound. Congrats! I'm with you that when I can't access a settled feeling of doing nothing, so I get a bit of help from a "prompt." Music and being in nature may be the two biggies. Sometimes I even go to blogging, then move away, seduced into a softer place because of everyone's sweetness. What I find here is sweet. I'll be back. Enjoy the silent blessing of creativity! Blessings to you.

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  11. What a beautiful way of honoring the myriad of ways we each access our own inner sanctuaries... Thank you for sharing!

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  12. The best way for me to turn off mind chatter is to walk along the sea or under the pines. I think nature offers a balm that anyone can benefit from. Other things I like include napping, listening to music, and sitting in front of a roaring fireplace.

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  13. Creating art and running but mostly praying keeps me centered. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Please do not try doing nothing when you are near an alligator....not kidding but love your photos.
    :-)

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  15. Greetings. What an incredible realization that you discovered your silence in your art. You have brought a very powerful prospective to all of this. I will observe during this next week when my mind goes silent. Thank you for this insight. I will enjoy discovering it.

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  16. I agree, there are many things that can bring us into *silence*. I'm sure for the musician, playing their favorite melody can transport them into quiet. Here's to the search for NOTHING ... in many different ways.

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  17. Wonderful photos Silke. I especially like the Dragonfly and the sunsets are very calming to the soul!
    I try to meditate everyday as well, for a about 10 minutes in the morning, (just to charge my batteries) but sometimes it is hard to calm the mind of chatter, when you have a lot of creative ideas and energy... I find it difficult to switch off when I'm making jewellery because you have to think a lot about the design. Though drawing and painting is a lot more relaxing once I know what the composition is going to be. I see you find that too, when you create a painting!
    By the way thank you for letting me know you have sent the picture. I can't wait!;)
    Jo.x

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  18. Beautiful post. I love that you have found a unique way to make nothing work for you. Your artwork is beautiful.

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  19. I find painting to be very meditative at times, so can see how that would work for you. LOve the photos and your willingness to be flexible - it really is true that sometimes one thing works better than another - the intention is important, and finding a way to get there is creative.

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  20. Dear Silke,
    this is what i try to do too. i love how you've put this into words here., i am enjoying going through your blog. your art work is so very lovely. and i like all the photos of you and daniel! so sweet and fun.
    love,
    lori

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